Finest Known $100 “Watermelon” Note Featured in Stack's Bowers March Baltimore Auction

By Brad CiociolaCurrency Specialist, Stack’s Bowers ……

The finest known Fr. 377 1890 $100 Treasury Note will be offered in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Currency Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo March 18-20 in Baltimore. The note is among the highlights of the much-heralded D. Brent Pogue Collection of United States Paper Money, which will be offered on Thursday, March 19. The note is graded Choice Uncirculated 63 EPQ by PMG and is the only example of the type in an Uncirculated third-party holder.

Commonly known as “Watermelon Notes“, 1890 $100 Treasury Notes are always favorites with collectors. Their nickname comes from the large distinctive zeros found on the back of the note that resemble the fruit. The face portrays Admiral David Farragut at right with a large 100 counter just left of center. Engraved signatures of Treasury officers Rosecrans and Huston are seen along the bottom border. A large brown spiked Treasury Seal is near the center.

Watermelon notes are represented by just one catalog number, of which 120,000 were printed and issued. Today only 35 examples are known, and of those at least seven are in government or institutional collections, essentially unavailable to collectors. The 1890 $100 Treasury Notes were replaced by the Series of 1891 notes, which featured an “Open Back” design that was thought to deter counterfeiting.

The Pogue example is from plate position C and displays serial number A67171 in bold red inks at the lower left and upper right. It is nicely centered and framed by generous margins. The brown Treasury Seal is sharply displayed in great detail as are all of the engraved design elements. This is one of those rare notes where the most popular details are found on the back. The ornate green printed plate impression of this note is nearly perfectly centered and displays striking detail.

The note carries a pre-auction estimate of $400,000-$600,000. The Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Currency Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo will be held March 18-20, 2020, in Baltimore, Maryland. For more information about the auction or to consign to a future sale contact Director of Currency Peter Treglia at or Currency Specialist Brad Ciociola at


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